A Federal Court granted an injunction for Customs to allow the import of certain goods without prior presentation of the Non-Automatic Import License applicable upon consumption import.
On June 16, 2016, the Federal Court on Contentious and Administrative Matters ruled in re: "Artículos de Fijación Sangalo SRL" that the Customs Authority should permit the processing and clearance of certain goods without having the required Non-automatic Import License approved according to General Resolution No. 3823 of the Argentine Tax Authority, Resolution No. 5/2015 of the Production Ministry and Resolutions No. 2 and 32/2016 of the Secretary of Commerce and Industry.
In this case the petitioner registered a request for a Non-automatic Import License which the processing system rejected. Therefore an email was sent to the Secretary of Commerce asking for the motives of the rejection. This query had no response from the authorities, breaching the legal term of 10 (ten) days provided by article 5 of General Resolution 3823 as well as the 30 (thirty) day-term provided by article 3.5.f of the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures, concluded within the WTO framework and incorporated by Law No. 24,425.
The company thus requested an injunction measure in order to import the relevant goods excluding the Non-automatic Import License requisite.
To grant the petition, the court took into account the following:
- That the delay in deciding the approval without any response from the Secretary of Commerce unreasonably exceeded the terms provided in the resolutions for the authorities to make a decision regarding the License request. In consequence the company remains unable to speed the processing due to the lack of information related to the reasons of the rejection raised through the system by the authority.
- The Court concludes that the situation of the importer compromises the right of defense as in practice it involves a prohibition -though temporal- to import without legal grounds.
- It also states that General Resolution 3823 was infringed as the circumstances of the rejection were not communicated to the importer as well as the steps to follow to resolve the rejection.
For the reasons mentioned, the court authorized the importer to proceed with the clearance of the goods without having the approved Non-automatic Import License.
The Court's decision is of great significance since it is one of the first precedents in connection with the Licenses system implemented by the Argentine Government at the beginning of this year.
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